The gallery is pleased to announce the New York solo debut of Brooklyn-based artist Henry Samelson. The exhibition will feature a series of recent works that are at once idiosyncratic and deeply engaged with the tradition of abstract painting. These works reflect Samelson’s interests in emerging form, causation, physics, beauty, love, spirituality, the universe, god(s), cultural isolation, and related issues.
A myriad of sources inform the artist’s imagery and process: daily routine, natural and urban forms, pattern, art history, disaster movies/literature, religion, relationships, etc. His process is tempered by an abiding respect of failure. “As a rule I paint until I feel satisfied,” Samelson notes. “Then I paint over—partially or completely—essentially erasing the initial work. Then I continue to paint until I am satisfied that I am not completely satisfied.”
The artist sometimes refers to these works as “couch surfer paintings,” as he began this series after city officials evicted him for several months from a live/work space in Brooklyn. In an immediate sense, they reflect his displacement and the experience of painting on the road as he moved from one friend’s apartment to the next. “Moving around forced me to paint differently,” the artist notes. “I’d been working with very small brushes with enamel paint in this very clean, slow, precise, comfortable, industrially shiny way. The situation forced me to relearn every part of painting, physically and intellectually. Intuition and mistakes entered the process more: non-sequiturs and clumsy brushwork transitions that I found simultaneously disappointing and exhilarating. The paintings find their identity between those feelings.”